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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Other · #1899438
Phoenix begins tapering down on a few medications, one of which is his antipsychotic...
Phoenix's doctor was gone hunting for the week.  At his last appointment, though, his doctor had given him instructions on tapering down on two of the medications that caused the worst weight gain.  One was a sleep medication.  The other was Phoenix's antipsychotic.  Within the last few days, Phoenix had cut his sleep medication dose in half and his antipsychotic dose by two-thirds.  Phoenix was feeling it.  His sleep had been erratic - more erratic than usual - and his perception of the world, well...  Everything was surreal.  It seemed that nothing was real at all.  Phoenix's sense of time and events was changed dramatically.  He was aware of the reason why, though, which made all the difference.  Instead of freaking out and calling the mental health clinic in a panic, he talked himself out of the panic, reassured himself that it was the change in medication dosage and that he could make it for a week without his doctor, and told himself that the safety plans that he and his doctor had made were still in place - nothing had changed in their relationship.  They still had a strong, committed relationship that was built on trust.  And Phoenix could still go to the hospital.  Phoenix was trying to avoid that, though.  He had done very well.  It had been a year since he had last been in the inpatient psychiatric ward.  He wanted to break his record of a year and a half with that.

Phoenix was also praying.  Prayer was all Phoenix could do concerning their efforts to get the VA to authorize ECT treatments every two weeks instead of just once a month.  Phoenix needed the ECT treatments every two weeks to get through this medication overhaul - the medication overhaul that would get him off of all of the medications completely.  There were many pros to this plan.  First, the VA would save a lot of money in medications.  Phoenix was on 13 of them, several of which were not yet generic (including his antipsychotic).  Second, the VA would see a dramatic improvement in Phoenix because the ECT treatments were much more effective than the medications were, anyway.  Third, the chances of Phoenix ending up in the psych ward would be less, again saving the VA money.  Fourth, Phoenix would no longer be on all of the medications that caused the weight gain and obesity, would be able to lose weight, and would need fewer health services from the VA in the future, again, yes, saving the VA money in the long run.  It was all about money, and the VA understood money.  They had a lot of Veterans to take care of, and anywhere they could save money, they should be chomping at the bit to do so.  Phoenix and his doctor were trying to provide them a way to save money in terms they understood.  The ECT treatments cost money, but the costs of the ECT treatments would not outweigh the ultimate costs of Phoenix's healthcare if things continued the way they were going now.  Phoenix was hopeful that the VA would approve ECT every two weeks, with God's help...
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